Cook praises fan-tastic Pompey backing

Paul Cook saluted Pompey's travelling support. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook saluted Pompey's travelling support. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook paid tribute to Pompey’s travelling fans at Cheltenham and told them: That is how you support your team.

The Blues were cheered on by a vociferous away following at Whaddon Road on Saturday, with 1,537 fans accounting for almost a third of the 4,702-strong crowd.

A two-hour trip north to the edge of the Cotswolds failed to bring with it a desired third straight League Two win, though, as the visitors were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

It was left to substitute Michael Smith to rescue a late point for Cook’s side on a day of frustration, which saw Pompey fail to take a number of clear-cut chances with the scoreline goalless.

But after his side were controversially booed by some on their previous outing – a much-documented 4-0 win over Mansfield – Cook was pleased with the positive backing the Blues received as they battled back to earn a share of the spoils.

He said: ‘Our supporters were amazing for us, they really were.

‘It was like we were a Premier League team playing a cup game away.

‘Our supporters took over the ground, they took over the atmosphere and they were fantastic to the players right the way through the game.

‘There was no negativity – even when we gave passes away.

‘That is what we need – we need them behind us like that.’

And Cook has called for more of the same as the club battles for promotion, with the Fratton faithful set to play a key role.

He said: ‘I never will get involved with supporters – good or bad.

‘Managers now come and go quickly – that’s the nature of my business and the game I am in.

‘But supporters don’t come and go quickly – supporters are here for a lifetime.

‘There was a lot made of last weekend, good and bad, and people had their opinion.

‘But that is how you support your team (at Cheltenham).

‘Travelling away, spending your money, turning up in your numbers and getting right behind them until the final whistle.’

Unsurprisingly, the biggest cheer of the day from the travelling fans was reserved for Smith’s 82nd-minute leveller – his first League Two goal this season.

And Cook believes Blues supporters have yet to see the best from the 25-year-old striker, signed from Swindon.

He added: ‘It’s great for Michael, I am pleased for him.

‘He hasn’t got going at the club yet.

‘But he has got so many qualities that our supporters will see – the same as Noel Hunt and all of the lads who we have in the squad.’

– JEFF MARSHMAN

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